VICE PRESIDENT, PUBLIC POLICY & REGULATORY AFFAIRS
SANDY WILSON IS A MASTER AT KEEPING A NUMBER OF Competing balls in the air as vice president of public policy and regulatory affairs for Cox Enterprises, which owns cable, broadcast, newspaper, Internet and auto-auction businesses.
Making sure all those businesses are well-represented on Capitol
Hill works more smoothly than people may think, Wilson said. “Cox
has held these assets for a very long time and we work hard to build
consensus and consistency of consensus,” she said. “It’s compelling for
policy-makers because we can show them we share some of their concerns
and we can show them how we have settled or handled them.”
Wilson’s partners on Capitol Hill appreciate her ability to work
through prickly issues before she goes to the Hill with a position, opinion
Cox Enterprises tends to internally work through issues that affect
all of Cox’s businesses before weighing in on an issue or lobbying regulators,
National Cable & Telecommunications Association president
Kyle McSlarrow said. That often makes his job easier.
“If Cox can’t play for whatever reason, Sandy is always upfront about
it,” McSlarrow said. “We appreciate that approach. She is not a bombthrower.
She works through problems and challenges very methodically.”
Wilson — who is receiving the NCTA’s Vanguard Award for Government
& Community Relations this year — joined Cox in 1994 after
a four-year stint at the Federal Communications Commission. She
was the 1993-94 chief of the FCC’s Cable Services Bureau, overseeing
implementation of the 1992 Cable Act and coordinating rulemakings
with FCC commissioners and staff , Congress, local government officials and industry and consumer groups. She was FCC chairman Al
Sikes’ legal adviser in 1991 and 1992 and a special adviser to the FCC
general counsel from 1990 to 1991.
Wilson was an associate attorney specializing in communications
and litigation with Wiley, Rein & Fielding from 1987 to 1990 and Crowell
& Moring from 1984 to 1987.
Today, she’s responsible for developing and implementing public
policy strategies for all of Cox businesses and represents the company
before Congress and federal government agencies.
“I had some great exposure with the cable industry when I was involved
with the Cable Act,” Wilson said. “Cox was at the top of the list
when it came to looking at companies to work for. It’s a fabulous company
to work for and I am proud to represent Cox on Capitol Hill.”
Her experience at the FCC was beneficial when it came to working
for Cox. As an FCC staffer she was required to know all about a number
of different media industries and issues. At Cox, Wilson must be
well-versed in a range of industries. “We worked on a wide range of
issues [when she worked at the FCC] and to be successful in that job,
you have to be a good listener and be able to bridge a number of differences.
I use those skills a lot in my current job and Cox is appreciative
So is McSlarrow. “I have asked her more than once to walk me
through the origins of an issue,” he said. “We tease her about her tenure
at the FCC when the 1992 Cable Act was enacted. But really, her insight
at the time and thought process when Congress handed the FCC
that controversial piece of legislation has been very valuable. I thoroughly
enjoy working with her.”
Wilson said one of her biggest challenges right now is prioritizing
her time. “The world is very complex right now and it changes very
quickly,” Wilson said. “We try to focus on issues that have the biggest
impact on the company and stay focused. Sometimes it feels like you’re
drinking from a fire hose but it comes with the territory.”
Wilson has been an active member of the Federal Communications
Bar Association since 1984, serving in a number of leadership roles,
including president (2003-04). She also has served as a faculty member
at the Practicing Law Institute’s cable television law conference
“She is so gracious and professional and completely even-keeled,”
McSlarrow said. “Sandy is a consensus builder and that has been good
for Cox and for the cable industry. She is a great leader. People trust
her. They trust her instincts, insights and opinions.”
Locally, Wilson has been a member of the District of Columbia Bar
Association since 1984. She served on the board of directors for the
Washington Chamber Symphony from 2000 to 2002. She’s also on the
board of Friends of the National Arboretum, a non-profit organization
supporting the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.